Goods and Services
Trade marks are registered for certain goods and services. This determines the scope of protection of the trade mark. What is known as "list of goods and services" is an essential component of the trade mark application.
First-time users will receive detailed information about “goods and services” on this page. Experts will get a fast overview of the individual classes and options of the harmonised classification database (eKDB database) in the box “Downloads for experts”.
Nice Classification - basis for classification
All goods and services are classified in the 45 classes (34 classes of goods, 11 classes of services) in total of the "Nice Classification" (NCL). The Nice Classification comprises internationally agreed lists of certain goods and services, comprising about 10,000 terms in total. To provide an overview of the contents of all classes, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) issues a recommended list (in German) for the classification of goods and services. The alphabetical lists of the Nice Classification are not meant to be exhaustive but rather indicate to users into which class to group particular goods and services, however, they are often not sufficient in practice, since they do not list all existing goods and services which users might wish to have included in a specific class.
International harmonised classification of goods and services
For this reason, the DPMA, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the other national trade mark offices in Europe have jointly developed a classification database, which provides for a substantially larger number of harmonised terms of goods and services, accepted in the EU, that goes beyond the alphabetical lists of the Nice Classification. The terms in this database are geared to the needs of the markets or specific industries, but also take into account the classification criteria and principles of the national trade mark offices and the EUIPO. During the development process of the database, it was thus also possible to harmonise the classification practices of the individual national trade mark offices, thereby succeeding in standardising them as far as possible within the EU. These harmonised terms are made available to trade mark applicants by means of a database, known internationally as "Harmonised Database" (HDB), which is provided through the common platform "TMclass" (powered by the Harmonised Database) of the harmonised offices. In the German language area, this database is referred to as "einheitliche Klassifikationsdatenbank" (eKDB).
The German-language harmonised classification database
The Harmonised Database (eKDB) contains about 73,000 terms of goods and services including the terms of the alphabetical lists of the Nice Classification as well as a part of the data of the Madrid Goods and Services Manager of WIPO; it is also based on 45 classes. So, the eKDB database is more comprehensive than the Nice Classification. Its terms, translated in 23 languages, are accepted by the harmonised countries. A list of all harmonised offices is available on the TMclass platform.
The trade mark offices of the EU and the EUIPO manage and update the terms of the database and develop it further continuously. New terms are submitted to the participating countries for vote. The majority vote will decide what terms will be incorporated in the database.
The structure of the eKDB database is based on English-language concepts. For the update and extension of the database, the English terms are being discussed and submitted for vote. The German translation of the concepts is done by the DPMA – after consulting with the other participating German-language trade mark offices in the EU, if necessary.
This means for trade mark applications with the DPMA: Use the eKDB database for compiling your lists of goods and services. If only terms of goods and services and/or group titles from the Harmonised Database (eKDB) are being used, there is no need for further clarification of the list of goods and services. Time-consuming formal objections to lists of goods and services can thus be avoided and your application can be processed faster.
Of course you are free to choose other terms for your lists of goods and services. For this purpose, you have the choice to file electronically via DPMAdirektPro or file a paper-based application. Instructions on how to use the eKDB database for a paper-based application are provided in chapter IV concerning the preparation of lists of goods and services "Erstellung von Waren- und Dienstleistungsverzeichnissen" of the Nutzungsanleitung für die eKDB (in German).
Taxonomy structure - the fast way to your goods and services
The structure of the eKDB database enables easy handling and fast retrieval of terms within a class of the database. In order to be able to sort and organise the large and constantly changing data pool of the HDB, general indications (group titles) were developed for each of the 45 classes. In this way, a taxonomy (tree structure) was created that sorts all goods and services in the database by class according to group titles.
The group Gruppentitel der eKDB are subdivided into different levels and describe the content of a class from the comprehensive first level to the subsequent more detailed levels. This makes the database easily searchable and terms of goods or services related as to content are made available in a clear manner.
In principle, all group titles of the eKDB database are suitable for inclusion in lists of goods and services and are therefore included in the eKDB database in addition to being displayed as a taxonomy (tree structure). By using group titles in lists with a few harmonised general indications, you can obtain comprehensive protection for your application; extensive and unclear lists of goods and services can thus be avoided.
Did you know:
You can also conveniently use the group titles of the HDB database for your application via DPMAdirektWeb and DPMAdirektPro!
It should be noted, however, that in some cases the group titles are worded in very broad terms, since a very broad wording was unavoidable for representing the taxonomy (tree structure) of the eKDB database. These few group titles are inadmissible and not suitable for inclusion in lists of goods and services. They have therefore been removed from the eKDB database and are only visible in the taxonomy (tree structure).
In order to ensure a complete overview of the group titles, the inadmissible group titles are also contained in the publication "Gruppentitel der eKDB" (Group titles of the eKDB database) made available (in German) by the DPMA; however, they have been marked and provided with an appropriate note.
Last updated: 2 January 2020